Affects AND Effects / by Kiersten Nash

Day 01 of Physical Training, which included more familiar tactics of [dis]engagement—polarity mapping, ideation, selection, movement scripting, etc., felt much smoother. Although, both Day 01 and 02, were incredibly generative.

Participation  Participation contributed greatly to the atmosphere throughout the workshop. As noted, participation was not mandatory. However, I recommended that if an individual preferred not to participation to please leave the studio until they were ready to actively engage. In general, the majority of individuals participated in the majority of exercises, even the authentic movement warm up! However, on the second day, Cameron (Tonkinwise) joined to observe the workshop. Ultimately his presence seemed more of a distraction primarily because he, a figure of considerable authority in this environment, was not participating. Lia Gartner and Thomas Whalen from the Office of Design, Construction, and Facilities Management—essentially our 'clients'—also, inadvertently, crashed the party. On Day 03, they dropped by to check out the workshop. However, I found their presence difficult to negotiate for several reasons: one, they are the 'client;' two, entertaining while facilitating is too much; three, they hadn't participated in any other activities throughout the workshop and therefore did kind of crash the 'party', although truth be told, I invited them.

Consistency  In a short time a daily rhythm was established day—arrive, greet every-one good morning, review guidelines, warm up. Unfortunately however, Rachel was unavailable to participate in the workshop on the third day, so we opted to forgo the warm up. In hindsight, I think this was a mistake. The warm up was an integral part of the workshop—a sun salutation with a secret handshake. It physically and psychologically separated us from our everyday lives. It also reaffirmed the trust necessary to maintain magic circle by placing everyone in a state of momentary vulnerability and security. 

Affects & Effects  Three weeks after the Physical Training workshop on the last day of class, we reflected on the DSB semester. Following are a few comments from a conversation with Communications BFA, Angel Ceballos (AC) and Environmental Studies BS, Louis Wright (LW):

AC I see buildings now as like, humans. They have a brain—a central processing unit. Like they have downstairs at One Bryant Park…Usually when someone walks into a building they're like oh, it's just a solid structure but then seeing how all the components go together, you see this thing as living. A life. Maybe even breathing…taking in air from the outside…so actually seeing this as a living structure.

LN And I was thinking just now, if we were water or air coming into the building, shouldn't we do something to filter out the bad things within the building?

LW Yeah.

KN Do you think there's a capacity for Physical Training to scale into conversations regarding socio-spatial justice?

LW Yeah! Definitely. Definitely…The physical, and I guess phenomenological—subjective, perceptual—understanding of the physical environment is something that we don't study enough and it's necessary to get the way that a human being moves in space to be part of how you understand that space. And social justice is a huge issue here. 

…PHYSICAL SPACE RELATES TO HOW PEOPLE PERCEIVE JUSTICE IN THEIR COMMUNITY.

The fact that people in Carroll Gardens are happy that no residential buildings are incredibly tall, only infrastructural objects are really tall, is because they're fucking pissed off that someone is going to live higher then them. There used to be a law that the church steeple had to be the highest building in town because God was supposed to have the largest house. The relationships between these objects is how people understand things are going on in their life.

And you don't get that until you ask people to do things—to walk around and touch things, and look at things and take photographs, and make objects. You can't get it from a mapping perspective. And you can't get it from an interview perspective. You can't get it from a planning perspective. You have to do it.